Today DEFRA made an announcement that from 2016 it will be compulsory for dogs to be microchipped in England. As someone with 30 years in the dog world as a behaviourist and rescuer and also having run 2 stray pounds, this horrifies me. We already have laws against dog poop not being picked up yet it is everywhere. Pounds are already full of chipped strays and dumped dogs so how exactly is this going to help?
I am a fan of microchipping, all dogs through my rescue are chipped to me. There are lots of cases of pets reunited years after being lost and in principle, chipping is a good thing. However, with no law to back it up, what is the point? It is at least 10 years since I first wrote about dogs needing a passport type document or car log book type. All dogs chipped, the document as proof of ownership and you wouldn’t buy or adopt a dog without it.
This week, PetLog, a huge chip database put on their site that microchip certificates are not legal proof of ownership. Who exactly advises government that this is a good idea? How will chipping do anything other than add to more out of date records and more dogs in pounds with chips? Dog wardens already take home dogs to be told “not mine, sold to man in pub last week”, or “take him to pound, we don’t want him”. How will more chips change that?
Dog problems in this country are at epidemic proportions. Untrained, dangerous dogs on the street, puppy farmers producing sick and mentally affected dogs, stolen dogs, poop mess everywhere. Seriously, will more chipping stop this?
There needs to be cradle to grave accountability and legal enforcement. The chip needs to be a step in proving ownership, the dogs need passports that go with every owner and there needs to be a way for the original owner/breeder/rescue staying on the record.
So how do we move forward? I suggest:
- New laws for consideration of chip records as legal ownership and passport type document compulsory
- Original owner/breeder/rescue permanently kept on record, even if current “keeper” changes
- Creation of local task forces that consist of RSPCA, Dog Warden, Police, Rescues, trainers,dog owners and any other useful people who work together in the community to educate and assist
- Register of “rescues” kept to stop the appalling, irresponsible wave of people passing on unassessed, not neutered, not vaccinated dogs who add to the stray and dumped dog problem
- Breeding to have a central registration, which chipping will make easier so that anyone breeding a litter will have the fact on record.
Only legally enforced proof of ownership can tackle strays, attacks, dumped or stolen dogs. As long as people can say “not mine, I sold it” they will.
Am talking to lots of people about this, I am sure we will find some great ideas out there. but we have to start NOW.
One of the news reportshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21345730